Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction

Notice: Please limit your comments below to the subject matter of this post only. There is a petroleum post above this one for all petroleum and natural gas posts and a non-petroleum post below this one for comments on all other matters.

First, let us define carrying capacity and overshoot. And none has done that better than Paul Chefurka.

Carrying Capacity: Carrying capacity is a well-known ecological term that has an obvious and fairly intuitive meaning: “the maximum population size of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment”.  Unfortunately, that definition becomes more nebulous the closer you look at it – especially when we start talking about the planetary carrying capacity for humans.  Ecologists claim that our numbers have already surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet, while others (notably economists and politicians…) claim we are nowhere near it yet!

Overshoot: When a population surpasses its carrying capacity it enters a condition known as overshoot.  Because carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population that an environment can maintain indefinitely, overshoot must by definition be temporary.  Populations always decline to (or below) the carrying capacity.  How long they stay in overshoot depends on how many stored resources there are to support their inflated numbers.  Resources may be food, but they may also be any resource that helps maintain their numbers.  For humans one of the primary resources is energy, whether it is tapped as flows (sunlight, wind, biomass) or stocks (coal, oil, gas, uranium etc.).  A species usually enters overshoot when it taps a particularly rich but exhaustible stock of a resource.  Like oil, for instance…

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Texas Update- November 2017

Dean Fantazzini has provided his latest estimates of Texas oil and natural gas output.

His analysis is based on RRC data only. Each RRC data set from Jan 2014 to Sept 2017 for crude and from April 2014 to Sept 2017 for condensate and natural gas are used in the “all data” estimate, the most recent 49 months of data are collected for each individual data set. After March 2016 there was a shift in the data for crude and condensate so for the C+C estimate, I include an estimate which uses all data from April 2016 to the most recent data point (“Corrected 18 month vintage”). Dean prefers to present an “all vintage data” estimate and an estimate using only the most recent 3 months “correction factors”. For Sept 2017 the all vintage data estimate is 3174 kb/d, the last 3 month vintage estimate is 2957 kb/d, and the last 18 month vintage estimate is 3039 kb/d with falls of 68, 96, and 80 kb/d respectively from the previous month.

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OPEC October Production Data

All data below is based on the latest OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report.

All data is through October 2017 and is in thousand barrels per day.

I have now included Equatorial Guneia although I only have data from January 2015 from OPEC’s secondary sources. The January 2015 E. Guneia data was extended back to January 2005. I know this is inaccurate but production from E. Guneia is so small it will make little difference.

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